When you think of a family Volvo from the past, visions of huge headlights, the styling of a brick and uninspiring driving dynamics come to mind. The new 2015.5 Volvo XC60 mid-size SUV comes with newly redesigned headlights, sleek exterior styling and engaging driving dynamics. What hasn’t gone away are Volvo’s characteristic attributes like a family-friendly cabin, sensible utility and top-notch safety scores. This week we test drive the 2015.5 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD model that has a bit more performance than your average family crossover.
What’s New for 2015?
The 2015.5 XC60s (models produced after June 2014) receive Volvo’s updated telematics systems (On Call and Sensus Connect) and some changes to standard and optional equipment. The XC60 received a mild refresh for 2014 that included exterior styling upgrades.
2015.5 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD options
Our Volvo XC60 T6 tester ($42,400) came standard with all-wheel-drive and a number of optional packages. The Platinum Package ($4,400) adds power tailgate, Xenon headlights with washers, keyless ignition, rearview camera, power retractable mirrors, electric folding rear headrests, Harmon Kardon premium sound and interior accent lighting.
The Technology package is included and adds adaptive cruise control, a frontal collision warning system with fully automatic braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection with fully automatic braking, automatic high beams, a driver-inattention warning system and lane-departure warning.
This XC60 tester also came with the optional Climate Package and Child Booster seats ($1,550) that includes heated front seats, heated windshield, washers and steering wheel. Sport seats ($500), Blind Spot Monitoring ($900), Metallic paint ($550) and 20-inch Titania Alloy wheels ($1,000) were also included. Total MSRP including destination, $52,225.
From the outside, this T6 AWD model with custom 20-inch wheels looks especially sporty. What can be said about the sleek stylish exterior carries right into the cabin. The interior is stylish and contemporary with materials and finish that is near top notch. The XC60’s brushed aluminum trim throughout the cabin adds a smart, cosmopolitan look. The optional sport seats offer an extra measure of support and good bolstering for our more spirited driving during the week. Where the XC60 shines is in its family-oriented cabin.
The XC60 is an excellent vehicle for families with teens or toddlers and the rear seats will accommodate three adults. The optional built-in child safety seats included optimized belts and are a necessity for families with toddlers. The XC60 offers excellent utility for growing families with close to 31 cubic feet of cargo volume with the rear seat in place, and 67.4 cubic feet with the rear seat folded flat.
Rear seatbacks and headrests fold easily and forms a completely flat surface. We had to carry a large amount of cargo for work this week. We stuffed it full to the brim and were amazed at the cargo carrying ability the XC60 has. The rear seats also fold 40/20/40 and works like the pass-through in vehicles with a trunk, allowing longer and larger items to be carried inside. The front passenger seatback also folds forward and flat, creating room for much wider and longer items than will fit in the typical small SUV/crossover.
Engine and fuel mileage specs
Under the hood of the T6 AWD is a turbocharged 3.0-liter engine, generating 300 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. It comes mated to a 6-speed GearTronic automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters. The T6 with all-wheel-drive gets an EPA estimate of 17/24 mpg city/highway fuel mileage.
The XC60 T6 has sporty driving dynamics and it handles exceptionally well on city streets and highways. We also took it up into the mountains west of Denver and ran it hard on the tight curvy mountain roads. This mid-size SUV responded well and the 300 hp 3.0-liter turbo engine has the kind of potential to move you out with confidence when more power is needed. The XC60 rides comfortably on the highway, brakes are superb when you need to stop quickly, and the 6-speed GearTronic automatic gearbox is well tuned. Steering wheel paddle shifters are there when you need them for more spirited driving maneuvers.
We had more snow this week and Volvo’s full-time all-wheel-drive system worked as advertised. We could push it as hard as was safely comfortable and the XC60 left us with a feeling of confidence in its ability to tackle the ice and snow. For active families using the SUV for weekend recreation, XC60 with all-wheel drive features an impressive 9.1 inches of ground clearance. It offers as much off-highway capability as most crossover buyers will ever need. It even features a Hill Descent Control feature for backcountry trails that makes creeping down steep inclines secure.
The 2015.5 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD needs to be on the list for growing families looking for a very capable all-purpose all-weather vehicle. Along with the XC60 T6‘s flexible seating/cargo configurations and cargo carrying ability, it has good city and highway manners with a comfortable ride. In the city commute, XC60 is compact enough that it’s easy to park, yet big enough to handle a families needs during the week and on the weekends. The 300 horsepower XC60 T6 AWD goes beyond providing basic transportation and adds an extra element of sportiness to the mix.
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